I’d say that the chicken fillet roll arrived in my life in a big way in around the year 2000. It was a cold winter, probably, I don’t remember, assume that it was, and the extent of newfound school freedoms was the lunchtime walk to the petrol station for either a chicken fillet roll or pork rib roll. This has nothing to do with anything and either does my life. Welcome to philosophy 101.
I happened to be eating a chicken fillet roll when thinking about life after death today. Actually, I’m lying, it was a cold, plain chicken roll with ham and mixed peppers which is probably why I was feeling so morbid. If it had been spicy chicken I’d probably be writing about how fantastic sunlight is or, even better, not writing at all but frolicking in the actual sunlight. But metaphors have to be metaforced sometimes and the chicken fillet roll is nothing if not the international symbol, in Ireland, for the ‘IdontgiveafuckwhatsinitIlikethecrunchytastism’ philosophy that we all subscribe to. To hell with the cold, wet realities of plain chicken, this is new Ireland and sure we’re all going to heaven anyway.
I thought about life and death as I sat outside eating my sandwich. I thought about what happens after you die and then got onto the much more interesting question of what happens before you are born?
I’m fairly sure that nothing happens after you die. You disassemble into your constituent parts, at what speed depending on how hard you worked during your life and how expensive a coffin you could afford, and you fade away to nothingness. As an engineer, this makes sense; if you were nothing beforehand, you have to go back to nothing aferwards as energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it merely changes form. As a casual observer of chemistry, spending some of my spare time just leaning against the benchtops, admiring the beakers, I’d have to say that its definitely possible to take something large and complex, like a human body, and dissolve it into a neat assortment of coloured liquids. I’ve seen Breaking Bad and I don’t think there was much life after death in the gloop that dripped through the tub and onto the floor below.
And, I’m fairly sure that my memory isn’t so bad that I wouldn’t remember even one, single thing from my existence before I was conceived. If I go backwards, I can remember Thierry Henry, Triple Crown, 9/11, Junior Cert, Friends, Turtles, Care Bears, Milk and Furry in that order and there my memories stop. Nothing. Not even nothing. No guilty little nagging voice saying,
“What about purple or itchiness? Don’t you remember tumbling?,”
Nope. There’s nothing there. I didn’t exist. And I won’t again.
So until you can explain what you were doing before you were conceived it is at best a fun and comforting nonsense to talk about what you will be doing after you are gone. And at worst…a deadly and divisive witchhunt against your human rights but sshhhh, some people like that sort of thing and they must be respected as equals.
I’m not sure if the chicken fillet roll brigade now think that,
“There is no life after death so let’s eat this delicious hot nonsense now.”
Or whether they simply don’t think about anything, from cholesterol all the way to life after death, and so are expecting the bones of the stories that they were told as children when they clot up and keel over.
Are they gloriously liberated by the farcical nature of our short lives or numbly ignorant of the possibility that this is all there is? Either way, you can worship at the alter of fried chicken. It is delicious. But not morally definitive.